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  • Senate Elections Results & Index of articles

  • Politically motivated violence ahead of Senate elections
    Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ)
    Weekly Media Update 2005-41
    Monday October 24th – Sunday October 30th 2005

    THIS week the private media revealed that politically motivated violence, a hallmark of the country’s electoral process, had erupted in some parts of the country ahead of the November 26 Senate elections. These media recorded two incidents in the three stories they carried on political violence. The stories named ZANU PF activists and members of the military as being responsible for the violence, while their victims ranged from supporters of the opposition MDC to members of the public and civic society.

    For example, Studio 7 (27/10) and the Zimbabwe Independent (28/10) reported that war veterans and ZANU PF supporters had severely assaulted five researchers from the Mass Public Opinion Institute of Zimbabwe who were conducting research on democracy in Beatrice.

    Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights, which is assisting the five victims lodge a complaint with the police and government, confirmed the incident saying the five were accused of "acting against national interests". The human rights watchdog also revealed that a "soldier" in "full military uniform" also took part in beating the researchers.

    The involvement of a member of the military in the assault was not isolated.

    The Independent reported in another incident that "soldiers" had assaulted "15 Budiriro residents" when they indiscriminately beat up people in the suburb.

    One of the victims claimed that his assailants threatened him with death if he continued supporting the MDC, while another alleged that he was beaten up for wearing an opposition party T-shirt.

    Two weeks ago SW Radio Africa (17/10) reported on another case of vicitimisation of Budiriro residents by soldiers.

    However, police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was quoted in the Independent expressing ignorance of the incidents saying if the victims did not report the cases "then we (the police) don’t know anything about it". However, one of the victims belied Bvudzijena’s claims saying, "he reported the case to the police" but "was chased away".

    Typically, the government media ignored these incidents and only reported on the intra-party violence in the MDC, sparked by the nomination of three opposition candidates in Gweru aligned to one of the warring groups in the party (ZTV, 24/10, 8pm; The Herald and Chronicle, 25/10). The Chronicle (26/10) then used this single incident of MDC violence to make wild and unsubstantiated claims against the party claiming that "the same MDC youths that unleashed violence" outside the Gweru nomination court "have in the past caused mayhem in different towns where they have destroyed property worth billions of dollars".

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